Posted by Rosie Segil on Jan 22, 2023
Marblehead Rotary's Charlie Milner recognizes that education is the pathway to economic mobility and a proven tool for solving global poverty. This outlook has been the focus of the Lillydale Literacy Project, a nonprofit organization; he and his wife, Toby, have invested 24 years of community service in furthering education in South Africa's rural communities. 
So, imagine Charlie's excitement when he came across a TutuDesk! The learning environment influences the quality of education a child receives. And a healthy learning environment means adequate school supplies, sufficient learning materials, such as books, pencils, and writing pads, and a roof where education can happen. But what does a desk have to do with delivering effective education? 95 million children in sub-Saharan Africa need a working desk at school. Unfortunately, most of these schools have little to nothing. If children had desks to use while studying, it would be much easier to pay attention to the content, do their homework, and more. Charlie explained, "the lack of basic resources like desks holds learners back from achieving even a basic education." 
In the dire need to supply portable and sustainable workstations for children needing desks at school and home, the late Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu founded the TutuDesk campaign in 2012 in partnership with the United Nations Special Envoy for Education. Made from a sturdy, child-friendly blend of polymers, the desks can last the duration of a learner's school career. It is also handy and colorful, with math, alphabet charts, times table, and a regional map. Finally, it has a hole cut-out, which makes it easy to transport from home and back to school. Since its launch, the nonprofit organization has provided more than 1.5 million desks to disadvantaged African children.
Since November, Charlie's Lillydale Literacy Project and Marblehead Rotary have raised funds for TutuDesks. The accessible cost of $20 per TutuDesk is about the equivalent of 4 cups of tall latte at the local coffee shop - a worthwhile project everyone can get behind. To date, Charlie has raised over $15,000, or the equivalent of 750 desks - moving the goal of the TutuDesk Campaign closer to delivering 20 million desks to African children in need by 2025.